Finnish ice hockey players had a kick around before hitting the rink for a training session at the Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava on Friday afternoon. The Finns are playing against top-seeded Russia in the semi-final of the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship tomorrow.
Playing the underdog-card to it's fullest, Finnish head coach Jukka Jalonen put the pressure on the Russian team to prove a point, saying that "its very, very hard game again for us but I suppose that's very hard game for Russia because they are favourites. It's a big pressure for them if they lose to us, they will not look so good at home in Russia."
The young Finnish team progressed to the semi-final after beating defending champions Sweden 5-4 in overtime. The team's emerging star Kaapo Kakko, who is expected to be a top pick at 2019 NHL Draft spoke to the cameras after training. He said "Yes we know that they have so good team with lots of NHL players but if we, if we play like against Sweden, we can win the game."
The match between Russia and Finland is scheduled to start at 15:15 p.m. local time (13:15 GMT) at the over 10,000-seat capacity Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava. Later on Saturday, Canada will take on the Czech Republic in the other semi-final.